This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market . I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love. Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here!
It is Monday morning - the perfect opportunity to set some goals for ourselves. Simple, attainable goals that will feel as easy to meet as they are to make. Goal #1: Do not try to get out of brushing your teeth before work by chewing gum in the car. We are better than that. Well, we want to be better than that. Goal #2: Set a healthy precedence for the rest of the week by making yourself a proper dinner. Popcorn does not count.
We are making an after-work soup. No defrosting chicken before heading off to work, or pulling out the slow cooker. This soup will be ready, start to finish, in about forty-five minutes. Exactly what Monday requested - she likes things nice and easy.
Some of you may be hyperventilating at the sight of squash, but rest assured that I still have a few summery treats in store for you that I will be sharing during the coming weeks. I am just slowly fading back into the realm of plaid button-ups and mugs of cider. You knew it was coming, I cannot apologize.
If you need to hang on to burgers and potato salad for a couple more weeks I definitely understand, but be sure to bookmark this one for later on because you do not want to miss out.
I went to my local Cost Plus World Market store in Williamsburg, Virginia last week and I am in love with their modern take on fall decorations and entertaining essentials for this year. I am envisioning a tablescape consisting of blue and white china, lots of gold accents (always), and miniature white pumpkins. Eeeep! I cannot wait.
Now, let's talk about this soup.
This was the first time in my life that I had ever used dried mushrooms. While I definitely prefer the texture of fresh mushrooms, if you have a difficult time finding more exotic varieties in your area, this is a great option for you.
What I discovered about dried mushrooms, and what convinced me to add them to my pantry staple list, is that they make a fantastically flavorful broth. I am really excited about this, so bear with me. This is going to be my new secret weapon for a number of reasons.
I have encountered quite a few eaters in my time that are strongly opposed to mushrooms (ahem, I married one). I take issue with this because mushrooms lend such incredible notes of complexity that can compliment meat, or add meaty notes to an otherwise vegetarian dish, such as this soup.
Enter, dried mushrooms. By adding only the mushroom broth, or more accurately, mushroom “tea,” all texture aversions are averted while umami is maintained. One might call this a “win win situation.”
Of course, if you enjoy the texture of the shrooms, you can certainly keep them in the soup for a double dose of mushroom magic. I would generally opt for a combination of mushroom broth and fresh mushrooms.
The mushroom broth works wonderfully in this soup. Its complexity gives the simple vegetable broth base the effect of a stew that has been simmering all day, without nearly the time investment. I plan on incorporating this newfound mushroom "tea" into my roasts and stews this winter. Kitchen cheat codes right here.
Brilliant as it is, mushroom broth is not our sole secret. To further enhance the depth and richness of an otherwise stodgy vegetable broth, we are adding a parmesan rind.
That rubber-like outer crust of parmesan that you would typically toss in the garbage brings an entirely new salty layer to our broth. This trick can be used in a variety of soups to bring added depth and flavor, so save those rinds!
Let’s address the vegetarian aspects. I know a few of you may be panicking because this is the fourth vegetarian recipe I have shared in a week. I still crave steaks at weird hours of the night, so you may calm your worries because I am far from converting. However, even the carnivore in me can appreciate a hearty vegetable-based meal now and then.
This soup is so rich and robust that no one will be missing the meat.
And, if you are feeling some extra carbs, toast up a sliced baguette with some walnut oil and parmesan. The walnut oil gives the crostini a lovely nuttiness.
You’ve definitely got this Monday, and even if it ends up being one of “those days,” at least we can come home to an easy dinner, right?
As we slip into the most wonderful season, I would love to hear from you what you are looking to add to your fall recipe arsenals, so please send some comments, messages, or requests my way! Over the next week or two, I’ll be putting together a full fall inspiration list and I would love to tailor it to your needs/wishes/cravings.
Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew
for the stew
- 1.5 ounces dried mushrooms*
- 2 cups water, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium shallots
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large parmesan rind (from about 1/2 lbs
- 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 60 ounces vegetable broth, divided
- 4 sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 8 ounces dried cheese tortellini
- 3 ounces (roughly two large handfuls) baby spinach
*Cook's Note: If you are not a fan of mushroom texture, you may wish to use only the mushroom broth in this recipe and discard the dried mushrooms after they have served their purpose. However, if you enjoy the texture, feel free to leave them in, or add 2 cups of fresh, sliced cremini mushrooms to the pan along with the shallots, and sauté until they begin to brown. They will not substitute the broth, but will work in combination with it to achieve both the wonderful savory flavor, and give you a more familiar mushroom texture.
Place dried mushrooms in a large measuring cup and cover with water, pressing down so that all the mushrooms are submerged. Allow to soften while you prepare the soup - this will likely take about thirty minutes.
In the meantime, place a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Add shallots and kosher salt and cook until just golden brown. (If you are using fresh mushrooms, you will also add them at this point.) Add parmesan rind and squash to the pan and cover with 32 ounces of the vegetable broth.
Increase heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the squash has just begun to soften. While the soup simmers, attend to the mushrooms.
Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid in a clean container. If using the whole mushrooms, thoroughly rinse them with cold water and pat with a paper towel to remove as much liquid as possible (this may take several towels). Give them a rough chop. Strain the reserved "broth" through a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels or a coffee filter.
To the soup, add the chopped sage, tortellini, remaining vegetable broth, mushrooms (if using), and 1/2 cup of the mushroom broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the tortellini is cooked through. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the crostini.
Remove the pot from the heat and add spinach. Stir for several minutes, until the spinach has just wilted. Serve immediately with crostini. Enjoy!!
for the crostini
- one small ciabatta loaf, sliced diagonally
- 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set oven on the broiler setting.
Lay the sliced ciabatta out onto the prepared sheet pan and brush with walnut oil. Cover with freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle each toast with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of grated parmesan.
Place under the broiler for about 3 minutes; until golden and toasted. Serve alongside warm stew. Enjoy!
Cook's Note: This stew is best served as soon as possible as it will begin to thicken as it sits due to the starchy nature of the squash and pasta.
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dried bistro blend mushrooms // gold serving spoon // marble ceramic canisters // blue and white reactive glaze bowls // white marble salt cellar // geo print kitchen towel // roasted walnut oil // gold wave soup spoons // gray marbled linen napkins // acacia wood bark tray // blue striped napkin // tortellini with cheese